hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Killzone 2

Destructoid review: Killzone 2

6:00 PM on 03.03.2009 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

The Killzone franchise has earned itself a place as one of gaming's more turbulent properties. All sorts of self-perpetuating controversies seem to spring up in its wake, often providing a disservice to the games themselves. As arguably the biggest exclusive the PlayStation 3 has ever had, its performance is certainly an important part of the so-called console wars.

It's a shame that Killzone 2 can't simply stand on its own and shirk the responsibility that die-hard Sony fans have unfairly heaped upon it, because this is definitely a game that deserves to be taken on its own merits, free from fanboy rage. 

Nevertheless, it's out and we've been playing it until both we and the disc are exhausted. Read on for our full review.

Killzone 2 (PlayStation 3)
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony
Released: February 27, 2009
MSRP: $59.99
Check out an HD version of our video review on Youtube 

When we last left the Killzone universe, the ISA had succeeded in driving a Helghast invasion force from the planet Vekta, pushing back the futuristic fascists and their Emperor, Scolar Visari. Killzone 2 sets the stage for retaliation, with our ISA friends launching a counter-attack on the planet Helghan in order to apprehend and detain Visari himself. However, what looks at first to be an easy mission soon turns nasty, and it's up to Sgt. Sev Sevchenko and his band of inappropriately foul-mouthed pals to save the day.

While Killzone has a rich backstory and plenty of depth, Guerrilla has always seen fit to completely ignore such details in the games themselves, and sadly Killzone 2 is no exception. The plot is incredibly light, eschewing the intellectual for the visceral, and simply tells a solid, if unspectacular, war story. The main heroes are completely interchangeable, unsympathetic and packing awkward, out-of-place dialog. In stark contrast, the villains are about ten times more likable, with the Brian Cox and Sean Pertwee providing the voices of a pair of memorable bad guys in Visari and General Radec. 

While the good guys are detestable, the enemies are a joy to behold. Their battle cries, screamed through gas masks with gritty English accents, are consistently entertaining and it's incredibly fun just to listen to their reactions during a firefight. It's a shame that Guerrilla hasn't employed much writing talent, because the Helghast are a fantastic creation that deserve a better script. 

The plot may be light, but the gameplay is anything but. Heavy, clunky and endlessly gritty, Killzone 2 provides the kind of FPS action that could only be described as a "slog," but I mean that in a good way. Battles feel hard-won and earned, and the constant movement from cover to cover, driving back a horde of red-eyed space nazis provides a remarkably intense experience. 

The single player experience takes place across a decent variety of environments, from grey and grimy city streets, to a military academy, a desert, a factory and more. There are also a few opportunities to pilot vehicles, such as an ISA tank or mechanical suit. While the majority of the campaign follows a consistent formula of cover-based ranged warfare, the new locations (that have more than three colors in them) and occasional break from normality keep things feeling fresh. 

The weaponry is, very much like the action, weighty and gritty, following the "hard sci-fi" style of realistic technology within a fantastical setting. While most weapons are recognizable as standard machine guns and shotguns, you'll get access to a few more inventive toys such as an electricity cannon and a bolt gun, both of which can be incredible fun to use. Unfortunately, their appearances are few and far between.

The single player campaign is short and sweet, definitely worth a go and packing a handful of memorable moments. That said, Guerrilla knows where the focus will be, and has crafted a multiplayer that more than matches anything on the Xbox 360, merging simple, old-school gametypes with a deep and addictive promotion system. 

With 32-player matches, each round of KZ2 multiplayer is hectic, tense and full of destruction. While you can select individual gametypes, the main draw is a quickfire style match which constantly cycles through different objectives. The objectives themselves are nothing spectacular -- assassination, search & destroy, and straight deathmatches are all present and correct. They are well realized, however, and the constant switching up of gametypes works very well, although the cover system seems to have been completely abandoned for some reason.

The most enthralling part of the multiplayer is its promotion system. Points are earned during matches, and these are collected in order for you to level up. As you continue to rise through the ranks, you'll unlock extra bonuses, such as being able to lead squads of players, accessing better weapons, and unlocking classes. Once you start accessing classes, the game really starts to become fun. You can become a medic and heal other players, or take on the role of an Engineer and construct gun turrets around the map. 

As well as promotions, players may also perform special tasks to earn ribbons, which bestow additional benefits. The "Good Conduct" ribbon, for example, is earned by receiving no penalties and scoring at least twenty points in a match. If you earn the ribbon eight times, you get a badge with the extra perk. 

The system that Guerrilla has put in place is a lot of fun and really changes the way you play. While the different classes are not dramatically different in the way they fight, the extra toys they have to play with add a lot to the proceedings. The only drawback is just how painfully slow it can be to earn certain ribbons and accrue points. Unless you are incredibly lucky, it can take a long time to get access to some of the better toys in the game, which could frustrate some players.

One aspect of KZ2 that is proving to be wholly divisive is its control scheme. As I explained, the game is heavy and clunky, and this is likely to turn off some players who are used to swifter action. The button layout is also rather odd, and the turn speed sensitivity is incredibly dull. Unlike many games, it's unlikely that players will find the default controls useful, and a lot of personal tweaking is to be done before individual gamers find their "sweet spot", so to speak. Once you adjust to the way Killzone does things, however, you should be able to hold your own easily. 

As you may have already gathered by now, Killzone 2 looks absolutely stunning, and is easily the best looking console game on the market. While I noticed a couple of physics bugs, the aesthetic production shines with pure quality and helps to truly immerse the player in the game's world. The sound holds its own too, with the aforementioned Helghast stealing the show. It's a shame that the multiplayer sounds a bit lifeless, lacking the kind of fun battle cries that litter the single player mode. 

I've not had this much fun with a console FPS in a long time, and feel confident in saying that Killzone 2 is probably the best of its kind to come out this generation. While some flaws are evident in the story and a number of design choices, they pale in comparison to the purity of the gunplay and the meaty action that prevails. If you own a PlayStation 3 and want to take advantage of an online game service that you don't have to pay for, this game is a required purchase. I won't tell you to believe the hype, because it deserves to be free of such damaging nonsense. Standing on its own and shirking the responsibility of a "PS3 killer-app", Killzone 2 is a simply superb experience.

Score: 9.5 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)



THE VERDICT

9.5

Killzone 2 - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Just read that SquareEnix have applied some weird mutation of crowdfunding mechanics to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided preorder. I know the last blog I wrote mentioned how big publishers try to pervert these systems, but to think it's already this far gone.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
First in line to grab MGS V tomorrow. Close to my house, so it looks like I can eat and sleep comfortably. No one else seems to be waiting at my mailbox. Neighbors are getting suspicious.
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
[img]https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CNwHpCTVAAA0jLp.png[/img] Sometimes, life is good as a ghost.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
You know what, I'm just gonna come out and say it. I hope MGSV fails. It won't train wreck by any means, but I hope it's a huge financial failure. Nothing against Kojima, but #fuckonami
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
MGS V unlocks for me tomorrow at noon.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Since my blog using this is basically useless, I still wanted to share it. [img]http://i.imgur.com/a33WM5Q.png[/img] CAN YOU DIG IT!?
Manchild avatarManchild
I don't think you should be able to say #Fuckonami if you are deciding to support their product anyways. I don't often agree with boycotting and am not condoning that, but get your story straight and show a little consistency.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
When the band began to play the stars were shining bright. Now the milkman's on his way and it's too late to say good night. So, Good Morning! Good Morning!
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm guessing all rock bands in the world must have stopped making music videos this year, since I read fall out boy's "Uma Thurman" won for rock video of the year. I can only assume there were no other nominees.that's the only rational explanation.
RatCasket avatarRatCasket
dtoid discussion has been awfully bitchy these past couple of days. knock it off. its just video games.
StripyTrousers avatarStripyTrousers
Just posted my first Dtoid Community blog. Hello all!
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Good Morning Good Morning We've talked the whole night through Good Morning Good Morning to you Good Morning Good Morning It's great to stay up late Good Morning Good Morning to you
Daniel Lingen avatarDaniel Lingen
#PAX2015
Agent9 avatarAgent9
gonna help my mom move and pack some things. what it means is I'm gonna sit and get yelled at whether I do or do not do something. I can't be the only one with a picky parent that expects nothing less than clairvoyance (-_-)
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
If some weren't aware, Phil/Mike Martin needs some help right now but can't access traditional donation avenues like Paypal on his own. I'm offering to be a middle man. I'm also offering to match 50% moving forward right now. [email protected]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
At first I thought it would be fun. Then more ideas came, so I kept adding. More! More! But soon it just became stubbornness. Now, as I stare at 10000 words of meandering loon about a subject I'd almost rather be porn, I must question all my life choices.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Someone on Gamefaqs asking the real questions. How mad would you be if halfway through the Mad Max game he stumbles upon a tribe of kids and the rest of the game is a lighthearted romp?
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I think, for my first try, I drew a pretty damn good Ryu, if I do say so myself [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/edB8UKLdSZep8ZSOYF8u[/img]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Really sad that Wes Craven has passed away. He made really fun films.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
R.I.P. Wes Craven. I'll always remember you for A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream and Red Eye. I'll try not to remember you for Music of the Heart.
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Killzone 2


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -